Senate opens Hayden probe to public

Posted at 05/28/09 3:27 PM

Senators on Thursday agreed to conduct a public hearing on the sex video probe involving celebrity doctor Hayden Kho despite the latter's request to conduct the hearing in executive session.

Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal, chairwoman of the Senate Committe on Youth, Women and Family Relations, agreed to conduct the hearing publicly upon the request of actress Katrina Halili, one of the women involved in the scandal.

Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada concurred with Madrigal's decision.

Lawyer Raymund Palad said his client, Halili, agreed to waive her right to privacy and conduct the hearing publicly since she had already given numerous media interviews about the issue.

Kho's lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, said conducting the hearing publicly would not aid the Senate investigation to draft new legislation on the matter of the sex videos.

Revilla earlier called for a Senate investigation on Kho after accusing the celebrity doctor of making at least 40 videos of his sexual trysts with various women including actress Katrina Halili. Several of the videos have spread virally on the Internet through various file-sharing sites.

Kho has publicly apologized for making the videos but said he was not responsible for putting the videos online.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile earlier said the joint Senate committee probe will focus on passing new legislation that will impose heavy penalties on video voyeurs to prevent a repeat of the Hayden Kho sex video scandal.

"We may need a need law to prevent this from happening again. Also, [Kho] said he was given drugs. My question is -- was he given drugs in all of the videos? Was it all done while in the influence of drugs? This is the type of question that I would like to ask him," Enrile told reporters.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, meanwhile, said the upper chamber may not need to investigate the issue since she already has a pending, Senate Bill No. 1100 or the Anti-Video Voyeurism Act, that was reported to the plenary last year.

"I don’t think that anyone is seriously against my bill, so it can easily pass second reading, which is the period of debate, and then we’ll go to voting. I’ll talk to Sen. Miguel Zubiri that at least we can take it up before the break," she said.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said they will conduct separate investigations on the various personalities involved in the scandal for possible violations of existing laws against pornography and illegal drugs. Kho's mother, Irene, earlier said it was Halili who taught Kho how to use drugs.

The Philippine Medical Association is also conducting an investigation on whether Kho should be stripped of his license for behaving unethically.